Connie Santos was honored for her years of service with Community Board 5, where she has been a member for the last 25 years.
“I’ve been servicing my community since my son was three years old,” Santos said at the ceremony held at Roma View Catering at 160-05 Cross Bay Blvd in Howard Beach. “He’s 34 years old already, so I spent a lot of my time out of my house, giving my time.”
Santos, originally from Astoria, has worked as a real estate broker in Middle Village for the last 35 years, and said while her years on the board have been rewarding, it could not have been possible without the support of her family.
“I’m grateful that my family and my husband stood by me, so there were no negatives,” she said. “Now that my son is a grown man and has a family and a child in the neighborhood, I like the idea that he is staying in the community.”
Santos was just one of several others honored at the ceremony, including NY State Bar Association member Jake LaSala, former councilman Anthony Como, Middle Village Kiwanis member Anthony D’Angelo and Kiwanis member and local business owner Janet Falcone.
Falcone, owner of Fun Stuff, a small chocolate craft business at 75-22 Metropolitan Ave., is a corporate sponsor for both the Glendale and Middle Village Kiwanis Clubs.
“Being honored tonight means that people actually recognize the work that you do,” Falcone said. “A lot of your work goes unrecognized and over the years they finally see everything that goes into it.”
Club president Alphonse Gentile said between ticket sales and raffles, the club expected to raise as much as $10,000 at the event this year.
“This is a great day for us because this provides the funding for many of the things that we do throughout the year,” Gentile said, explaining that the thousands raised go towards numerous events in the coming holiday seasons.
Each year the club provides turkey dinners for dozens of families in the community during Thanksgiving, adding that they plan on donating more than 150 this year, up from 30 turkeys when they first started two years ago.
“Kiwanis is about helping people so when we recognize someone, we want that to be front and center,” he said. “It’s not always about writing a check. We just want to make sure that if we recognize someone that they are active in the community."